Monday, December 05, 2011

Diversity Reigns at the National Book Awards

Hello Meltingpot Readers,

I'm a little late in posting this, but still I have to use this space to honor and celebrate the winners of the 2011 National Book Awards. The winners are:

FICTION: Jesmyn WardSalvage the Bones (Bloomsbury USA)
NONFICTION: Stephen Greenblatt, The Swerve: How the World Became Modern
(W. W. Norton & Company)
POETRY: Nikky FinneyHead Off & Split 
(TriQuarterly, an imprint of Northwestern University Press)
YOUNG PEOPLE'S LITERATURE: Thanhha LaiInside Out & Back Again
(Harper, an imprint of HarperCollinsPublishers)

It was such a joy to see this list of winners as, they finally seem representative of America's diversity. Jesmyn Ward and Nikky Finney are Black women. Thannhha Lai is an Asian woman. Stephen Greenblatt is obviously a man. I don't believe that award winners should be selected based on their race or gender, but it seems to me that the best books in the United States would be written by a variety of people who reflect the true scope of  the 'American experience.' 

And for the first time in a long time, I'm truly excited to read every single one of the award-winning books. They will top my TBR list for 2012. 

What about you Meltingpot readers? Have any of you already read the works of the winning authors? What did you think? Any suggestions on what book I should read first? I'm listening.

And in the meantime, you can listen (and watch) Ms. Nikky Finney's acceptance speech for her book of poetry, Head Off & Split. The actor John Lithgow said it was the "best acceptance speech for anything" he's ever heard in his life.


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